Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forgive Me My Chocolate Trespasses. . .

Today was the first day of Boot Camp. Not to be confused with Boat Camp, which is what my reading novice son inquired about when he saw it listed on the calendar. I had to explain that it was “BOOT” camp, and that it had nothing to do with boats (or boots either, for that matter). Which is unfortunate, because I love boots and I am completely open to going out on a nice boat two days a week. So, what is it then? Well, officially, boot camp is the intense period of training that soldiers endure when they join the armed services. Their bodies are strengthened and their minds are conformed. For us civilians, it’s basically a modern-day torture device, popularly used in the summer months, where we are punished for our crimes involving carbohydrates and cream sauces. Basically, I’m paying to be reprimanded twice a week for the next five weeks. Reminding me, yet again, that I was born in the wrong era. Why does thin have to be in? Why can’t we bring fat back?
Until someone answers that dilemma, I’m doing my best to blend in with the moderately-fit crowd. I exercise regularly and feel serious Judeo-Christian guilt over indulgences like ice cream. And, I do questionable things like enlist in exercise boot camp. When I walked into the gymnasium today, there was a huge camouflage sign with the words BOOT CAMP 2010 written on it, flanked by two Army-esque white stars. It was almost cute, except it was a little frightening. Especially when viewed alongside the three uber-fit instructors wearing camouflage tank tops and black shorts, their toned arms and cellulite-free legs taunting me from across the room. Once I saw them garnishing their necks with whistles, I started looking for the nearest exit. I didn’t leave; I just wanted to know where it was in case of emergency. Like if the paramedics who had to come and peel me off the floor needed directions.
The class started off okay, with a little jogging for a warm-up. This was very agreeable to me since I’m a runner. Next we moved onto jumping jacks, which are far less agreeable to me. I have the cardio wherewithal to handle those, but I think my knee joints are hand-me-downs. Because even though I’ve only had them 32 years, they feel like they’ve been around at least four score. (That’s eighty years for those of you that don’t speak Abraham Lincoln). I may have to do modified jumping jacks, which I hate to do because I think they make me look like I rode in on the short bus, but if I’m not careful with my antique knees I’ll be riding in on a wheelchair and that’s not going to help me achieve any of my goals, except the goal of getting great parking spots. Jumping jacks are also not my fave because I have the pelvic floor muscles of a woman who’s had three kids. If you know what I mean, you have my sympathies, if you don’t, you have my envy.
Next we moved onto some cardio interval training. This wasn’t too bad either. I especially liked the kickboxing moves we worked on. I’m almost hoping for a surprise attack, so I can pummel my assailant with my fierce upper cut and jab and then take him down with a nice sidekick. He’ll be distracted by me doing everything in an eight count, an eight count I will vocalize for fear of being sentenced to push-ups because the instructor CAN’T HEAR YOU!
After we prepared ourselves for all the hand-to-hand combat that we housewives face virtually every day, on our missions to places like the supermarket and the library, we moved on to some drills. This portion of the class went a little slow for me because we were on teams and had to wait for our turn. And, yes, I know there is no I in team, but there is an I in skinny, which is what we’re working on here, people.
The remainder of the class was devoted to a multitude of tasks that I’ll group together under the heading “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!”. I can’t remember the order we did the following activities in because pain tends to muddle my brain a bit. We alternated push-ups and sit-ups in a nine of one, nine of the other, eight of one, eight of the other fashion. The problem wasn’t what we were doing so much as the speed at which we were doing it. I was like, “Gee, do you think you could count any faster?” Drill Sergeant J was shouting “nineeightsevensixfivefourthreetwoone” faster than my hearing could digest it. Can I get a two-Mississippi up in here? And the quick turn from one position to the other was supposed to be achieved in under ten nanoseconds. By the time we got down to the twos and ones, there were ladies that were basically just rolling in circles on the floor with no actual time to do a push-up or sit-up. At one point, during the quick change over, I banged my knee so hard on the floor that I suspected little cartoon stars and exclamation points to be flying over my head in a circle pattern. How I banged it on the floor is still a mystery, since I was performing these exercises on my yoga mat.
We also got to spend some time in the purgatory that is the plank position. Front, back, and both sides. I have to say here that I didn’t even know there was a side plank position. The instructor kindly showed us four different levels at which we could do them. Level One was this-hurts, Level Two was this-really-hurts, Level Three was my-body-is-going-into-shock, Level Four was does-this-come-with-a-side-of-physical-rehabilitation? I attempted Level Three because shock dulls the pain sometimes. There was a woman of more advanced years than me to my right (she was about a score older), and she was practically yawning in the Level Four position! I felt like I just got served.
I’ll be going back on Thursday, but may or may not have recovered the use of both arms by then. Perhaps, by next summer, America will have gotten over this silly notion that less is more and we’ll finally learn to appreciate a large behind for what it is, a symbol of prosperity (I can afford cheesecake) and happiness (I eat cheesecake). And, following the suggestion of satirist, Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black, we could introduce a flat abs tax. Then we could all sign up for something more fun in the summer, like Boat Camp.